Today, almost any business is an e-commerce business. This has over a zillion advantages, making it worth the hype. Perhaps the only cause of concern is the absence of a live human presence to guide and assist potential customers. This can quickly turn the tables against you.
One way that businesses deal with customers online is by simply fronting their site with basic legacy chatbots in place of a human agent. Unfortunately, given the limited capabilities, lack of colloquial human response understanding, lack of context awareness, and in many cases tone-deaf manner in which legacy chatbots work, they fall well short of their intended purpose!
What is a Legacy Chatbot?
Legacy chatbots are rule-based chatbots, which means they follow predefined rules to arrive at a solution for problems they are familiar with. They cannot process questions or situations they are not trained for. They also do not learn from conversations. They simply try to identify the correct scenario from their programmed list of scenarios.
Legacy chatbots are sufficient for simple tasks such as helping with customer complaints, directing customers to a human assistant, and providing general information about services. However, while they get the job done, it is no surprise that customers would prefer to talk to a human representative instead of a chatbot with limited replies.
What is an AI Chatbot?
AI chatbots, or conversational AI chatbots, are truly the road ahead. These intelligent chatbots can provide a meaningful conversation based on the context, which is a considerable improvement from the rule-based stoic replies of a legacy chatbot.
Using the power of machine learning, AI chatbots can now converse with a customer, give them the information they seek in natural language, and recommend services based on their understanding of what the customer wants. Such AI chatbots come very close to a human agent in terms of the type of human-like conversational experience while being able to do more in terms of addressing the users’ questions as well as being able to handle an unlimited number of users in parallel with zero wait time for the users.
But is that all AI chatbots can bring to your business? What if you already have a support team in place to deal with support requests? Or, in the case of newly digitizing companies, why should you opt for an AI chatbot instead of its less expensive alternative?
Forbes has a brilliant article about how the future is conversational AI chatbots, but from a business perspective, here are five compelling reasons why AI chatbots are the way to go.
Why Choose AI Chatbots Over its Legacy Counterpart?
1. AI Chatbots are not limited by predefined rules.
Legacy chatbots are limited in their responses. They are heavily equipped with an appropriate solution for every possible scenario that the developer could think of. That’s also their limitation.
When a customer approaches a business for assistance, they are looking for someone to understand their queries and provide insightful responses. Legacy chatbots cannot perform contextual understanding since they utilize keyword matching to select appropriate options. An AI chatbot uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) to identify the customer’s intent and respond accordingly. Customers tend to appreciate the natural-sounding, relevant responses of an AI customer-service chatbot over the limited responses of a legacy bot.
2. AI Chatbots require little-to-no human oversight.
AI chatbots are not only capable of suggesting products based on the customer’s expectations; they are also capable of processing orders, completing payments, as well as providing post-sales assistance. Training time is the only period when an AI chatbot actively requires human oversight. Once the training is complete, the bot can be rolled out to handle queries with absolute independence.
A single AI chatbot can perform the tasks of several individual teams with ease and efficiency and without compromising on quality. There is no question about how little human interference is needed for these chatbots, whether they function as standalone sales chatbots, customer service chatbots, or holistic AI assistants.
3. Scaling customer support is inexpensive with AI Chatbots.
Every business has a long-term plan, and every feature the business implements has to be financially scalable. The more a business grows, the harder it gets for employees to respond to every request and query. However, customers want prompt service. Over 60% of customers are willing to pay more if it guarantees them better customer service (Salesforce).
AI chatbots are a cost-effective support alternative to human representatives and legacy chatbots, both in terms of money and time. According to Juniper, when people use a customer service chatbot instead of a human employee, the business saves four minutes on average. But legacy chatbots don’t always cut the chase.
AI chatbots also save a business the time a customer wastes trying to get relevant information from a legacy chatbot. For example, there are several ways to phrase the same query. If the legacy chatbot is presented with a phrase that is not defined in its rules, the customer will not receive a satisfactory response, and every time a customer attempts to modify their question, time is wasted.
AI chatbots do not have this problem. There is also no need for the addition of new agents (goal-oriented software programs that provide some service to humans) to provide customer support for new products. Existing chatbots can be modified to serve this purpose. Should the need arise, the cost of scaling your support facilities by adding new agents is also linear with AI chatbots.
4. AI Chatbots can provide customers with immediate, personalized experiences 24/7
Research has found that 90% of people surveyed considered “an immediate response” to be a crucial factor in customer support. While both legacy and AI chatbots provide immediate responses, only AI chatbots can provide relevant responses. That’s as good as having a human representative online 24/7.
Businesses can provide global assistance with AI chatbots since time zones will no longer be a limitation. Legacy chatbots may need human backup. If your support team is offline, the customer will have to wait an entire day to get help. That won’t be an issue with AI chatbots.
Instead of trying to balance relevancy and immediacy in customer support, AI chatbots allow you to provide both.
So, if you’re looking to scale your e-commerce business, conversation AI chatbots should be your preferred choice.
5. AI Chatbots lead to increased sales
While legacy chatbots can only ask preprogrammed questions, AI chatbots can ask questions relevant to the conversation. By its very nature, an AI chatbot is a great tool to collect information about how many people are interested, to what extent, and how to market to them. They provide valuable insight into what products and services users are interested in. This insight can be taken and converted into sales by the business.
When users chat with AI chatbots, they are directed to products that meet their requirements, which allows them to make an informed purchase quicker. There are a lot of questions and doubts a customer might have, some of which may go unanswered if they were to manually browse the business’s website or app. An AI chatbot can give the users the push they need in terms of confidence by providing the products as a solution, and not merely an item for sale. This leads to increased conversion rates for the company.
They also provide an additional point of sale to the business. AI chatbots present a convenient platform for customers to shop instead of going through websites and individual mobile applications. They also can suggest relevant products and process sales right from within the chatbox, significantly bringing down the cost of identifying and converting a lead to a customer.
6. AI Chatbots increase brand loyalty
Customers are more likely to think positively about a brand if they can recall positive experiences with their support team. Conversation with an AI chatbot is a smart way of providing customers with this satisfaction, as we have already discussed above. But what happens when customers are satisfied? They start recommending your business in their circles. They become loyal to your brand since they have only had quick, easy, and helpful interactions with the business. Building long-lasting relationships with customers is an important aspect of business, and AI chatbots are the key to that complicated lock.
According to this report published by Oracle, over 80 percent of businesses have already moved to AI-based customer support models as of 2020. This shift is very telling of what the market is moving towards and what customers are growing to expect from businesses. When 8 out of 10 companies possess the means to provide natural, quick, and efficient customer support right when they want it, can you afford to be in the twenty percent that chooses not to?